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Brook Lane Services seeks volunteers

May 06, 2002|BY MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Almost since Brook Lane Health Services opened its doors in 1949 as a hospital, the work of volunteers has been crucial.

But that need has never been greater than it is today at the psychiatric hospital near Leitersburg, said Brook Lane CEO Lynn Rushing.

Because the population at Brook Lane is unique, it takes a special understanding of others to volunteer there. But people of all skill levels are welcome, he said.

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"We all know the pressures to keep expenses down in the health-care arena," Rushing said. "Many things we could do in the past we can't now."

For that reason, a volunteer program at Brook Lane was organized in earnest about a year ago.

A new volunteer coordinator is scheduled to begin work next week, Rushing said. That person will become involved in existing volunteer programs, as well as exploring new possibilities.

"We are just beginning to work with high school students who are looking for ways to complete their community service requirements," Rushing said.

Other volunteers include retirees, college students and others who want to contribute to the quality of life for Brook Lane clients.

As of May 1, Brook Lane had 116 clients, including 51 residents of the hospital and group home, and 65 students who are bused in on school days, Rushing said.

The job possibilities for volunteers cover a wide range of interests.

Brook Lane needs tutors for one-on-one help with struggling students.

Volunteers with green thumbs are needed to provide gardening help with the landscaping while working with residents for whom this activity can be therapeutic.

Garden clubs are welcome to offer their skills to do spring plantings as a volunteer project.

Someone with keyboard skills could assist with computer input of old medical records.

Drivers are needed for the mail and in-town supply pickup run. And there is a need for an interpreter for deaf clients.

For more information, call 301-733-0330.

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